Pregnancy is a stressful time for many women. You may be feeling happy, sad and scared—all at the same time. It's okay to feel like you do.
Very high levels of stress may contribute to preterm birth or low birthweight in full-term babies. Examples of events that may be highly stressful include loss of a job, divorce, or death of a close family member.
Recognize that you do indeed feel stressed. Accepting the fact you are stressed and identifying the situations that cause you stress are the first steps in helping reduce it. You can also help reduce your stress by:
- Eating regularly and nutritiously and drinking lots of water.
- Resting when you can—and when your body needs it.
- Exercising (with your health care provider’s OK).
- Relaxing by meditating, listening to music or writing in a journal.
- Resisting any urges to drink alcohol, smoke or take herbal products or drugs (except those prescribed by your health care provider).
- Staying away from stressful people and stressful situations, when possible.
- Talking—to your partner, friends, relatives, health care professionals and your employer. If you feel overwhelmed, talk with a trained counselor or other mental health professional.
- Going to all your prenatal care appointments. This will give you the reassurance that everything is okay with your baby or let your health care provider know about a problem while there is still time to do something about it. You’ll feel less stressed because you know you are doing the best for your baby.
See also: Stress and pregnancy